How to pick killer shadow for your eyes
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Color Theory1 of 13
Choosing a shadow that maximizes your eye color is a bit like an art project that entails basic understanding of a color wheel. Simply locate the shade of your eyes on it, and then look directly across from that shade. That's your complementary color that will instantly accentuate your iris hue. Makeup pros, of course, learn the best options for every eye color through experience, whether it's creating an everyday look or one that's ready for the red carpet.
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Blue Eyes2 of 13
Blue is a naturally cool tone, so warmer shades tend to set this iris color ablaze. Do you need to stick to tawnier pigments? Not necessarily. "I like using gray-brown, slate, or even silvery blues," said makeup artist Marina Gravani. "And if a woman's eyes are deep navy, I'll even use eggplant! Keep in mind that when you have an eye color that's light, like blue, avoid putting too much color on the lid. It distracts from the eye's beauty."
Your Complements: Gold, bronze, copper, champagne, yellow-beige, peach
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Blue: Everyday3 of 13
For a subtle look for blue eyes, keep it neutral with a little sparkle. "A wash of gold over the lid that's softly blended" works wonders, says makeup artist Rachel Wood. Or blend a "golden brown that's not too dark" along the lash line, says makeup artist Nick Barose.
Blue: Unexpected4 of 13
Orange may not be the first color that comes to mind for this iris shade. "But for blue eyes, pale orange can look really pretty; it makes blue irises pop," Barose said, adding that pastel formulas are the easiest to pull off.
Brown Eyes5 of 13
Those with dark eyes have the widest range of shadow options. Brown is a neutral, and it doesn't tend to compete with colors in the same way that other eye hues do. "You really can use any color," Gravani said. If you're seeking a toned-down look, Gravani recommends warm bronze and peach as go-to hues. Looking to make more of a statement? "Make them pop with purple or teal shadows," she says.
Your Complements: Bronze, peach, purple, navy, teal, green
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Brown: Everyday6 of 13
Though earth-toned shadows are a beauty staple for brown-eyed women, a neutral-on-neutral pairing can sometimes look dull, Barose cautioned. Instead he suggested finding a toffee hue that has a hint of shimmer or gold in it. "This way it won't look flat against brown eyes," he explained.
Brown: Unexpected7 of 13
Since brown eyes can reap the benefits of most hues, drumming up the drama is simple. Wood pointed to deep blue as her go-to for creating a striking look. "Paint navy all over the lid for an intense smoky eye," she said. Or, go a step further. "Go with matte blue or green—or both," Barose suggested. "Brown eyes can wear the craziest colors because they don't clash."
Green Eyes8 of 13
The pros all point to some variation of purple as looking the most beautiful on green eyes. "To enhance eyes even more, dab a bolder color just on the center of the eyelid as a highlight," Barose says, noting he suggests blending a deep plum around the eyes and then dotting a brighter purple just above the iris. If violet isn't your thing, Gravani recommends browns that have a reddish undertone. "These make the eye pop without being too distracting," she says.
Your Complements: Sepia, rust, purple, pink
Green: Everyday9 of 13
"You want color that reads neutral from a distance, but still brightens the iris," Barose said. For green eyes, this translates to wine or mauve, which appear brownish from afar, but are definitely purple upon closer inspection. Or, try a soft veil of rose gold, which grants emerald eyes "natural beauty with a twist," Wood said.
Green: Unexpected10 of 13
Go full-tilt with your eye design, either by way of sparkle, lash-to-brow application, or intensity of color. "I love a super-deep plum with a touch of glitter sparkle applied all over the lid for green eyes; it can look vampy and ultra-dramatic," Wood said. "I say go for full-on violet. The contrast will make quite an impact," Barose added.
Hazel Eyes11 of 13
These peepers range between green and brown and often have radiant flecks of gold and gray. Because of their spectrum of colors, you can play up certain aspects of hazel eyes to transform their hue. Want to pick up the green flecks in hazel eyes? Try a lavender, violet, or plum. "If you want to make a hazel eye appear more light-brown, use yellowy-browns and grays," Gravani said. Meanwhile, avoid golds that are too pale. "They tend to wash out the eye color," Barose added.
Your Complements: Gray, dusty pink, burgundy, deep purple, yellow-brown
Hazel: Everyday12 of 13
Drawing out the natural beauty of hazel eyes on a daily basis is as easy as painting lids in a golden-khaki, mushroom, or taupe-gray eye shadow. "Frame the entire eye with the shade; it will cause the gold flecks to sparkle brighter," Barose said.
Hazel: Unexpected13 of 13
"You can really underscore the brilliance of hazel eyes with burgundy or rust, but be sure you stick with a shimmer finish for the most ideal appearance," Barose said. Or, he recommended the boldest of bold eye shadow hues—deep fuchsia—as an eye score for hazel beauties.